Home' The Source : First Quarter 2017 Contents In December 2014, the first cases of the Ebola virus
were detected in the United States. The deadly virus,
which originated in West Africa, caused widespread
panic, though there were only eight confirmed U.S .
cases. While the CDC says Ebola is no longer a threat, the
outbreak serves as a reminder that tested procedures are
needed during an infectious disease outbreak. The key is
preparation and training.
Grainger (HealthTrust Contract No. 148), a leading
provider in the industrial supply industry, helps hospitals
successfully prepare for crises before they happen, explains
Kym Orange, the healthcare strategy manager at Grainger.
“We offer the broadest product portfolio in the market
through an emergency preparedness-specific catalog, a
dedicated section of Grainger.com that helps tailor plans
for specific emergencies, and webinars aimed to educate
hospital leadership on the latest in crisis prevention and
response,” Orange says.
When an emergency like Ebola—or another infectious
disease—strikes, Grainger team members extend branch
operation hours and assist as support resources in
emergency operations centers. “We act quickly to surge
inventory levels for critical products and, if necessary,
prioritize specific items for first responders and first
receivers,” Orange says. “Through coordination and
consolidation of supply chain efforts, we’re able to deliver
critical items to multiple locations.”
When the Ebola crisis hit the United States in
2014, Grainger received a number of inquiries from
HealthTrust members looking for assistance to protect
healthcare workers from potential exposure. At the
time, many healthcare organizations were struggling to
identify and secure the appropriate personal protective
equipment from their medical surge suppliers. They
turned to Grainger.
“We played an integral role in bringing together HCA,
HealthTrust, Grainger suppliers and manufacturers to
identify, source and even develop the critical personal
protective equipment needed for facilities and
employees to manage the response,” Orange says. “We
were able to accelerate and prioritize the delivery of
products to impacted facilities to keep them operating
Physicians can play an important role in combating
infectious diseases, says Michael Wargo, AVP of
enterprise preparedness and emergency operations
“Physicians should have situational awareness of what’s
happening in different pockets of the world,” he says.
“So if patients come in with flu-like symptoms and have
traveled out of the country recently, they’ll be asked where
they went and how long after they returned that they
got ill. Physicians have to be like investigators collecting
Physicians immediately began tending to the wounded on-site, before
transporting them to surrounding hospitals. The first patient arrived eight
minutes after the explosion. Though not the closest hospital to the race
route, BMC was the most easily accessible. Within a half-hour, there were
23 patients at the facility. Of those, 19 were admitted, 10 in critical condition.
Five more victims with minor injuries trickled in over the next few days.
“Everyone pitched in,” McMahon says. “We typically activate our
Emergency Operations Plan under a variety of circumstances so that our
staff are prepared and can quickly jump into action. The bombing, however,
was unlike anything we had ever experienced, so our staff had to think on
their feet that day. But they knew the procedures from multiple drills, so
they were able to adjust to the unique conditions.”
McMahon credits the incident management team at BMC for its quick
response. When the emergency plan is activated, leaders from key hos-
pital departments report to the emergency department for a briefing and
are then responsible for coordinating their team. During this incident,
clinicians and nurses lined the hallways, waiting to be called in to assist.
It was impressive how cooperative everyone was, McMahon says, calling
it a “true team effort.”
What the hospital’s EOP didn’t account for, however, was the emotional
toll the day would have on its staff.
“The bombers blew up our city, and we took it personally,” McMahon
says. “It affected us all. Every employee who was there that day and those
who were not still remember the horror. We did a lot of work on that first
day and in the days that followed to ensure our staff was not only physi-
cally OK, but emotionally OK.”
This included convening a team at BMC with the sole purpose of com-
forting staff members. Massage chairs and “puppy vans” were brought in
to help them relax. It worked.
“The puppy van turned into a new program at the hospital,” McMahon
explains. “Now we allow employees to bring their specially trained dogs
to visit patients and staff. It brings a smile to their faces. That all started
from the puppy vans after the bombing.”
HURRICANE IKE: MERGE MEDICAL AND SECURITY TEAMS
A hospital evacuation during a hurricane is tricky. But evacuating 250
career criminals during a hurricane? That’s the challenge Troy Sybert,
M.D., was met with in September 2008 when Hurricane Ike plummeted
the coast of Galveston, Texas.
Sybert, who is now a healthcare consultant in Johnson City, Tennessee,
was then the chief medical officer of the state prison hospital, a 200-bed
facility at the University of Texas Medical Branch. When he received
word that the prisoners would have to evacuate the hospital, Sybert and
his colleague, the prison warden, led coordination efforts.
“The biggest challenge was finding a place to take them,” he says. “These
were hardened, penitentiary criminals, and some hospitals were hesitant
to take them because of the increased security risk.”
Sybert’s team nonetheless managed to transport all 250 patients to new
locations within 20 hours. Some went to prison nursing facilities, while oth-
ers were moved to regional hospitals that had experience treating inmates.
“We got the job done because of the relationship and understanding
between the medical team and security team,” he says. “As a doctor, your
goal is to take care of people. It was an exciting opportunity to see how
two teams with different expertise could accomplish such a major feat
in less than 24 hours.” S
Combating Infectious Diseases
THINK LIKE AN INVESTIGATOR
Continued from page 28
See checklist on page 32.
30 The Source | First Quarter 2017
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